Most of you know I love to cook and bake. It was a love fostered at my momma's elbow. Until I grew taller than her, and then it was more like she was at my armpit. As I recall, I wanted to cook and bake, and so she let me. She encouraged me and let me make mistakes. She showed me secrets of measuring (or not measuring). She told me the story about when she mistook baking powder for flour. And how the two are not interchangeable. I also watched her cook - the speed that she cut vegetables, the way she timed multiple dishes to be finished at the same time. It was under the even and patient hands of my mother that my own two hands found their home in the kitchen.
And now today, of course, the tradition continues. More often than not, I have at least one small tiny helper. The tiniest of the two mostly just stirs a bowl of air, but the tallest is involved. She insists on measuring and dumping and taste testing. She watches through the oven door as the cookies plump up. And most of all, she makes messes and little mistakes. I never realized as a child that assisting my mom in the kitchen wasn't really a help to her at all. I assumed that I was vital to the meal; she never let me believe otherwise. And so I never knew that my mis-measuring or giant messes of spilled sugar on the floor were a problem. Now, of course, I see that just like every other little facet of motherhood, our time in the kitchen was a labor of her love, a chance for her to teach, an opportunity for me to learn.
Just the other day, I was talking to my mom on the phone while I tidied up the house. As I made my bed, both girls came running in and jumped up on my just straightened bed covers. They always do this. They just know. When I start making a bed, they come running. The best part? I remember doing this to my mom. I remember the irresistible urge to jump on that perfect bed. I remember the exasperation as she asked why oh why? And then, still on the phone, the exact phrases that I'd heard a million times growing up came tumbling out of my own mouth. I stopped in the middle of my rant and said, "I'm sorry Mom. I'm sorry for jumping on your made beds. My gosh, we must have made you crazy!"
And so today, as this beautiful circle of motherhood continues on its rounds, I say to that most perfect mother of mine, thank you for the tiny life lessons - the messy ones, the ones that I messed up. Thank you for loving me through every minute and never making me feel like a failure, even when perhaps I was - at the moment - failing. My greatest hope as a mother is to become, well, you.
And really, I'm sorry for jumping on those beds. :) Happy Mother's Day all y'all.